QR Codes

By now you should be familiar with QR – or “quick response” codes. They’re two dimensional bar codes most commonly used as a convenient marketing tool to quickly connect print advertising to web-based content via your smartphone. Here is a more in-depth look at QR codes.

How Can QR Codes Help Your Business?

Since most QR code link your customers to online content, these codes (or the content they link to) can be tracked! That’s right, anything you print a QR code on, can be tracked with most any analytics software.

No more guessing at what does and doesn’t work. You can even create multiple QR code to use on different marketing materials. This enable you to track one campaign over multiple mediums (postcards, posters, signage, etc.) and generate reports on each one.


Where Can You Use QR Codes?

This is the best part. Since QR codes are relatively small (as small as 1″ square), they can be used on the smallest of marketing materials including business cards. And since one of the main purposes of a QR code is to link the user to more in-depth information, it is beneficial for businesses to incorporate QR codes into most every aspect of their marketing. Some of the best places to use your QR codes are yard signs, car magnets, postcards, business cards, flyers and brochures. As an aside, there are some places that QR codes should not be use. Billboards and along highways are a good example, it’s simply unsafe. Email signatures are another place to skip since you need a smartphone to scan the code. Most people are reading email on their computer and wouldn’t need mobile content since they are already online (although we have seen some success with the use of QR codes in emails).

Tips For Creating Your QR Codes

  1. Size of the code. This is so important which is why we out it first. If your code is too small to scan, you’ve lost your chance at a successful campaign.
  2. Mobile content. This could be a tie for number one. If your content (what the code links to) is not formatted for mobile phones, you run the risk of losing your customer.
  3. Value. Whenever possible, be sure to offer your user something of value. This could be in the form of a discount, free items, or even information not available anywhere else.
  4. Not too complex. The more information you add to a QR code, the more dense or complex the code gets. If the code is too dense it becomes harder to scan.
  5. Explain it. It’s always good practice to add a small line of text below your code to indicate what the user should do (scan with their smartphone) and the benefit of scanning (what they can expect when scanning).
  6. Use tracking analytics. If you don’t track your codes you may never know the benefits of using them.

Whether you are promoting a monthly special, selling a house, wrapping a vehicle or using a POP display, QR code are becoming essential to most every marketing campaign.

We help business owners market and brand their company better through interactive print and mobile web.
By helping businesses interact with their customers, we’re able to engage the consumer and track results on a level never imagined before.

For help creating, implementing and maintaining your QR code marketing, contact us at

Here are some basic items to consider when using QR codes.

1. Mobile-optimized. Don’t send users to an ordinary website. Create an experience that is based on portability, location, SMS, sharing, or instant fulfillment and feedback – anything but an ordinary website.

2. Audience awareness. Some still don’t know much about QR codes.  Do the obvious: include instructions to help new users engage.  Inform savvy users on what rewards to expect.

3. Usage patterns. If you plan to use QR codes multiple times for multiple campaigns, treat each as its own campaign – complete with strategy, goals, success measures, etc. Then, for each instance, caption each code with the URL, call to action and reward info. Set the stage for fulfillment by setting user expectations before they scan your code.

4. Size and placement. Make it big enough. Your QR code must be of sufficient size, placement and proximity to be easily scanned. This excludes TV (too fleeting), subway (no wireless signal means no way to access the online content) and Billboard (too distant; your own pulse will cause your handheld phone/camera to shake too much to reliably scan the code). Ideal: printed material or flat surface, within arm’s reach. Up close and personal.

5. Visual Appeal. You can dress up a QR code to make it look nicer. Contact us for detail on that.  It’s a nice touch, and we can expect this beautification trend to increase.  Whereas the lowly barcode has faded like a footnote into the borders of package labels, the comparatively prominent physical placement of a QR code could harm the beauty of your content or its location.

6. Convenience. Is a QR code the fastest, easiest and/or only way to access the content, share it, and/or fulfill some need?  If so, great; go for it.  If not, think about other ways to deliver content more effectively.  Again, an ordinary website, not mobile-optimized, is not a value-add experience and not a fulfilling one.

7. Reward. Make it memorable.  Reward users, rather than disappoint them. Give them a discount or special offer. Make your destination content instantly useful and satisfying.  Include share buttons so your audience can tweet, email, post and rave about the cool experience you provide.  Want viral?  Do that!

QR codes: end of a fad!  They are here to stay.  QR codes can help you create a delightful and amazing customer experience and you can track all of the results!


The weekly coupon newspaper arrived in my mailbox today. I quickly scanned through it to see if I could find any QR codes. I did find one. One and only one. After my initial disappointment of only finding one QR code, I decide to see what it was all about. 

As you can see in this photo, the code is inset into a photograph of watermelon which is on sale, so I can assume that the code will tie in with the watermelon somehow. The placement and size of the QR code are prominent on the page. This is a good thing because it not only draws attention (thus piquing the curiosity of the reader), but it also makes the code easier to scan. I’ve seen way too many QR codes that are so small they’re difficult or impossible to scan.

The first thing I noticed is that there is a large amount (2 paragraphs) of text included with the code. The first paragraph has the title of “Fire and Ice Salsa with Watermelon!” Then goes on to to briefly describe a summer themed salsa with watermelon as it’s main ingredient. The salsa sounds delicious but this first paragraph is important because it get’s your mouth watering and wanting for more. Enter paragraph two.

“Watch Chef John Gruver make this recipe!” Ok, I’m guessing a video or photos of the chef making the watermelon salsa. The second paragraph goes on to give instructions to “scan this barcode with your smartphone to view the video.” And there it is, confirmation that we’re about the see a video. This is a good call to action because it’s going to show us a chef making the recipe with the watermelon that’s on sale. So far so good. If we continue reading it goes on to tell us that there are many free QR code reader apps available for download. Telling the reader that they can download an app for free to scan the code is a good idea for those that don’t yet know what QR codes are or how to read them. The last line instructs the reader to visit a website address if they can’t scan the code. It’s always a good idea to include a traditional URL to enter for those who don’t have smartphones or simply choose not to scan the code. When typed into my laptop, the URL takes me to a YouTube page with the exact same video as when I scanned the code. They are delivering the same content no matter how the user chooses to access it.

I won’t go into the video too much except to say that it was short, simple, easy to understand and branded well. As an additional touch, when the video was over and the YouTube description page came up, they had included the complete recipe. Nice!

I’m not sure if Giant Eagle is experimenting or using QR codes in all of they’re marketing but one thing is for sure, they’ve been well informed about QR codes and they use them well. Good placement, large code, enticing text, thorough instructions, consistent content and a bonus complete recipe – Giant Eagle gets it. On a scale of 1-10 I give this code a 9.

We help business owners market and brand their company better through interactive print and mobile web.By helping businesses interact with their customers, we’re able to engage the consumer and track results on a level never imagined before.

 Visit our website at or contact us directly here.

Using QR codes on your business cards can make them “stand-out” and are a real conversation starter. They also allow you to offer far more information than a traditional business card. QR stands for quick response and it’s a really easy way to get information using your mobile phone. You simply scan the QR code like you would a bar code and it brings up the information. For some phones you may need to download a free QR code reader, however most new phones already have QR code decoder capabilities.

Here’s just one example. Click here to continue reading the original post on the Pixel Curse website…

Two-thirds have seen a mobile barcode

QR, or quick response, codes, are being adopted by many marketers as a way to entice people into using their mobile phone to get more information about products and services or otherwise interact more deeply with advertising. Outdoor ads invite consumers waiting for the bus to scan a poster to reach a relevant website, catalogs integrate QR codes to hook directly into ecommerce sites and stores place codes next to products that direct shoppers to how-to videos online. But how much have consumers caught on to what mobile barcodes can do?

According to February 2011 research from agency MGH, awareness is high among smartphone owners. Nearly two-thirds have seen a QR code, and about half that number, or one-third overall, had used one.

The demographic breakdown of users who had seen vs. used a QR code was virtually identical. Smartphone users were almost evenly split by gender, and while users under age 55 were relatively few, the field was not dominated by 18- to 34-year-olds. Users who had seen or used QR codes tended to be more affluent and educated.

Continue reading on eMarketer

In these days of BlackBerrys (Nasdaq: RIMM – News) and e-mail contact lists, the humble paper business card may look like a relic. Does passing them out signal you as hopelessly behind the curve?

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